Red Bull urged to offer multi-year deal to F1 driver facing end of the road

Jamie Woodhouse
Heavy rain falling outside the Red Bull garage at Interlagos.

Heavy rain outside Red Bull garage.

Formula 1 pundit Peter Windsor believes Valtteri Bottas, who will himself see no future with Audi, would be the perfect pick-up for Red Bull to partner Max Verstappen.

Verstappen has been at it again in F1 2023 with team-mate-breaking performances, claiming a remarkable 17 of Red Bull’s 19 grand prix wins so far as he strolled to a third World Championship title in as many seasons.

Perez meanwhile has crumbled, with a stronger display last time out in Brazil finally putting him back in prime position to see off Lewis Hamilton’s challenge for a distant P2 finish in the Drivers’ Championship.

Peter Windsor now seeing argument to replace Sergio Perez

Windsor had been stern in his defence of Perez despite an alarming drop in form, continuing to argue that he is exactly what Red Bull need in a number two driver to Verstappen.

However, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso re-passing Perez on the last lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix and snatching the final podium position, this is the exchange which has opened Windsor’s mind to the idea that Red Bull should look to replace Perez.

Therefore, he would begin to go through the drivers who he felt could potentially be up to the task of being Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate.

“Maybe Perez now you could say, after getting beaten by Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin around Brazil, maybe the time has come to think about getting somebody who’s a bit more adaptable and a bit more of a racer in all conditions than Sergio Perez,” said Windsor on his latest YouTube livestream.

“Probably not in terms of pace. Because you don’t want a George Russell in there, you don’t want an Oscar Piastri in there, stirring things up. And so who else would I put in that second seat?

“I think Carlos Sainz would be a good number two to Max at Red Bull.

“I’d like to say Mick Schumacher. I don’t know if he’s been out of it so long it’d be difficult for him to even be as quick as Perez has been on occasions [at] places like Baku, Monaco. I think it’d probably be too big an ask for him.

“Liam Lawson maybe? But I’m not sure Red Bull want to go that route, do they? They don’t want to have a young guy that they’ve got to train up still. I know he’s done a few races, but their whole image is that we have these seasoned grand prix drivers and Perez has been around a long time.

“Nico Hulkenberg would probably do a very good job in the other car, I think.

“Daniel Ricciardo would do a great job, should never have left the team in the first place, the perfect complement to Max. I won’t say number two.”

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Valtteri Bottas is “the guy” that Red Bull need

Windsor saved the best for last, though, as he settled on current Alfa Romeo racer Bottas as the driver who Red Bull should put a multi-year contract in front of.

Bottas has five seasons of experience as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate on his CV, having then taken that experience to the Sauber-operated Alfa Romeo team. However, with Audi set to join the grid in 2026 in partnership with Sauber, there are question marks over where Bottas fits into their plans.

Windsor believes that Bottas will already be convinced that he has no future with Audi, so would be exactly what Red Bull would want alongside Verstappen.

“Valtteri Bottas would be another guy who I think would do a good job in that second Red Bull,” said Windsor. “He’s the sort of guy that Red Bull would hire actually because he’s got a good pedigree, he’s a bit quieter than Perez.

“He’s not by no means in the same class as Max or Lewis or Charles [Leclerc], but he’s not bad. Better than Perez, I think. If you’re going to look at anybody, Bottas would be the guy.

“It would be worth making an offer to Bottas, because I can’t imagine he imagines he’s going to be in Audi’s future, I’m sure he’s not. So just a nice two-year deal for Bottas would be a very good move.”

Alfa Romeo are battling to avoid ending F1 2023, their final season under that name, last in the Constructors’ Championship. They are currently P9, with only Haas behind, four points away.

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